What could breast pain mean?

Breast pain is one of the most common complaints that women report to a breast surgeon during an exam. Dr. Jasmine Dagan, Director of the Breast Surgery Unit at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, explains whether breast pain may indicate cancer and when a check-up at a breast clinic is recommended.

Although we think of cancer as a modern disease, breast cancer is a very old disease and there is a record of it dating back to the Stone Age. Unlike other diseases and the fact that it is the most feminine organ, in addition to the physical and health aspects of the disease, breast cancer is also associated with deep emotional aspects of damage to body image and femininity.

Women who have had breast cancer share a “sisterhood,” even if they were born into a completely different time and culture.

Although medical advances and the vast knowledge gained have changed the course of the disease and, more importantly, significantly improved the survival rate, there is great anxiety and fear of the disease. So for many women, even a small amount of breast pain is cause for concern and is stressful.

Does breast pain indicate that you should think you have a malignant tumor?

Let’s go ahead and say no.

Dagan explained that pain is an emotional and sensory feeling, and an unpleasant experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Pain plays an important evolutionary role, as it is designed to signal physical harm and serves as a defense mechanism for us. Therefore, naturally, the onset of breast pain can cause concern and anxiety about breast cancer.

Most women will experience breast pain at some point in their lives, the most common time for this symptom being the fertility period.

While a woman is fertile, there are cycles of hormonal and physiological changes in the woman’s body whose function is sexual reproduction.

“Every month there is an increase in the secretion of estrogen, the function of which is to prepare the woman’s body for absorption by the fetus by thickening the lining of the uterus and developing the milk ducts,” Dagan explained.

He added that these physiological effects are linked to a variety of symptoms, including abdominal pain, a feeling of bloating and breast pain. As the level of estrogen decreases, menstruation begins and most symptoms disappear.

“Therefore, breast pain that is not accompanied by additional symptoms, such as fever, redness or the appearance of a lump, is generally due to a natural physiological process of the body and is not a symptom that characterizes breast cancer” , said.

However, several studies have found that 5% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have complained of breast pain without any accompanying symptoms. Therefore, if there is long-term breast pain, it is advisable to consult a breast surgeon and, if necessary, clarify the matter through imaging tests.


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